Sunday, February 23, 2020

I believe, help my unbelief.


”But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”  Jesus said to him, “‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”  Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9: 22 - 24).

Monday February 24th in the 7th Week in Ordinary Time. The Gospel of today provides us the opportunity to grow in faith and enjoy the power of faith.

The father of the epileptic boy having at last placed himself in front of Jesus, was desperate to see his son healed at all cost. But one cannot buy faith. Mercy and compassion are always available.
”But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

The Bible has a lot to teach about Faith:
#1 Without faith, we cannot please God.
#2 Although man cannot live on bread alone, the just man lives by faith.
#3 This world is in a bitter and deadly conflict between good and evil. Victory must come to the side with faith.
Etc,

How do we get this precious faith?
Faith comes from hearing/reading the word of God constantly. To this, add prayer. For prayer and faith are like joined twins that can never be separated even by the most advanced surgery.

Your prayer must be fired by confident and expectant faith for God Himself has promised: Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will swing open for you.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, February 22, 2020

God loves us first.


"You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord." (Leviticus 19: 18).

Sunday 23rd February in the 7th week in Ordinary Time. You may call this Sunday: Love Sunday because of the emphasis on love in the liturgical readings of today.

What is love? I never understood what love truly means until I met the word waiting for me in 1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7:
Love is to be patient and kind to your neighbor and stranger. Love does not envy; it does not boast and it is not proud.
If you dishonor others, if you are self-seeking, if you are easily angered or keep records of wrongs, sorry, you do not understand a thing about love.

The Romans say: "Nobody can give that which he does not have." How do you get love? Start from this truth: God first loves us even when we are unlovable. In 1 Corinthians 13: 4 - 7, He shows us some of the attributes of His love: patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, long suffering, etc. We can not imitate God's love except the Holy Spirit helps us. The Holy Spirit is our Paraclete and Advocate and always ready and willing to help us.

Now that you know how dearly you are loved, you will be blessed if you do the same.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Feast of the Chair of St Peter.


"The Lord says to Simon Peter:
I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail, and, once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22: 32).

Saturday 22nd February 2020 in the 6th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Chair of St Peter, the Apostle.

We celebrate today the mission of St Peter and his successors as universal teacher and pastor of the world-wide Church. Jesus Christ, Head of the Church conferred and guaranteed the stability of the office the Petrine Ministry.  It is amazing that the office of the Pope, the Supreme Pontiff has not failed. Good men and bad men had been popes but the integrity of the teachings of Jesus Christ has been preserved faithfully. This is what we celebrate today.

Have you ever heard Jesus say that He prayed for you? I felt this at the beginning of my conversion and this word of knowledge (rhema) has always bring comfort to me in difficult periods. If Jesus Himself  prays for me to the Father, then all is well in spite of all appearances. In fact, we are all Simon Peter. Jesus prays for each of us. He promises to be with us always and everywhere. Trust Jesus!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The Feast of the Reformer. Meet St Peter Damian.

"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." (Mark 8: 34).

Friday 21st February 2020 in the 6th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Peter Damian (1001 - 1072), Benedictine monk, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Peter Damian lived over 200 years before St Francis of Assisi and almost 500 years before St Ignatius Loyola. When we honor the saints, we glorify Jesus Christ, the King of all Saints. 

It would appear that the Scriptures in the Liturgy today is written to celebrate the life of the monk-Cardinal whose life we celebrate today. Damian was a reformer who urged his fellow clergy to live upright lives. Many clergy at all levels were at this time living sordid lives. But Peter pursued reforms with the heart of a pastor unlike Martin Luther (1483 - 1546) who preferred to tear up the seamless garment of the Body of Christ and got nether the reform he sought but instead thousands of petty churches quibbling over doctrines.

I like the Opening Prayer in Mass of St Peter Damian:
"All-powerful God, help us to follow the teachings and example of Peter Damian. By making Christ and the service of His Church the first love of our lives, may we come to the joys of eternal light, where He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."
May we all say Amen!

Daily Bible Verse @ Seekfirst.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Lord hears the cry of the poor.


"Listen, my beloved brothers. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?" (James 2: 5).

Thursday 20th February 2020 in the 6th Week in Ordinary Time.

That God has a preference for the poor is obvious from the ministry of Jesus. Who are the first people to notice Jesus and seek His help? Who in the society is more likely to be hungry, sick and outcast? The poor! When people of high class in society seek out Jesus for a desperate healing, for example: the Centurion, Jairus, or the rich woman with the issue of blood, their desperate need placed them in the class of the Anawin. Every disadvantage is a blessing and an opportunity.

Who are the poor among us today? The orphans, widows and immigrants (the Bible calls them strangers because this is how the Egyptians saw the Jewish immigrants). From the time of Abraham, the class of the poor has remained constant. As it was in the beginning so it is today.

A melodious refrain we sing in the Liturgy is "The Lord hears the cry of the poor." How true! Although God in His omnipotence can provide the necessities of all His creatures,  God says to man: Increase and multiply. I charge you to take good care of My creation.

The poor seeks the Lord at all times. He answers them and delivers them from all their fears. If God Almighty has given you more than you need, do not hoard your surplus.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Believe what you read. Practice what you believe.


"Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves." (James 1: 22).

Wednesday 19th February 2020 in the 6th Week in Ordinary Time.

When I read James 1: 19 - 27 (our 1st Reading today), I was stung by two reproaches from the holy word.  "Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves." What is the Lord trying to tell me? I spent hours in the word of God every day. I try to go to Mass many days a week. I try to be an active member of the RCIA. But I do not go to the Soup Kitchen nor visit the sick or prisoners. There are other corporal and spiritual works of mercy I don't even think about.

Lord Jesus, I am encouraged when You talk of persevering in the word:

"But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does." (James 1: 25).

Brethren, let us believe what we read. Let us teach what we believe. Let us practice what we believe and teach. Then we shall be immensely blessed by "the perfect law of freedom."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, February 17, 2020

How much do you remember and understand God's interventions in your life?


"Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened?  Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember?" (Mark 8: 17 - 18).

Tuesday 18th February 2020 in the 6th Week in Ordinary Time.

Jesus chides His disciples for not remembering all the wonderful things He does daily in their midst. As good disciples (students), they should not only remember but seek to understand the reasons behind every divine act.

In the first Reading from James 1, the Teacher reminds us that every single good gift we enjoy comes from God and not from chance or lottery. Therefore it is crucial to remember everything God is doing in our lives. It is equally important to understand that when the Lord permits scarcity or problems in our lives, His intervention is certain. To remember and to understand are two great habits of the disciple.

There must always be trials. But have no fear, I have overcome the world.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Ask for Wisdom with confident and expectant faith.


"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it." (James 1: 5).

Monday 17th February 2020 in the 6th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the Seven Founders of the Order of Servites (13th century), Religious. The Servites are a Confraternity of the Order of the Servites of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They lead a life of prayer and penance.

Our chosen Scripture today from James 1: 1-11 is a gift to everyone. My heart glows with joy as I read and reread it.

What is Wisdom? Although I coveted the gift of Wisdom as long as I can remember, I had to look it up since I wasn't even sure what it is. This is what I found below from an excellent source (NABRE):

"Wisdom: a gift that God readily grants to all who ask in faith and that sustains the Christian in times of trial. It is a kind of knowledge or understanding not accessible to the unbeliever or those who doubt, which gives the recipient an understanding of the real importance of events. In this way a Christian can deal with adversity with great calm and hope (cf. 1 Cor 2:6–12).

I like what I read. The sacred text below shows how to acquire this mother of all gifts:

"But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways."

Brethren the above needs no commentary. God told Solomon:
"I give you what you request here and now." God is not a liar. He will do the same for you and me.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Law of love and freedom and grace.


"If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God, you too shall live; he has set before you fire and water; to whichever you choose, stretch forth your hand." (Sirach 15: 15 - 16).

Sunday 16 February 2020 in the 6th Week in Ordinary Time may be called the Commandments Sunday because the Law of God dominates all the liturgical texts this Sunday. Below is how we should welcome the Law of God:

"The New Law is called a law of love because it makes us act out of the love infused by the Holy Spirit, rather than from fear; a law of grace, because it confers the strength of grace to act, by means of faith and the sacraments; a law of freedom, because it sets us free from the ritual and juridical observances of the Old Law, inclines us to act spontaneously by the prompting of charity and, finally, lets us pass from the condition of a servant who "does not know what his master is doing" to that of a friend of Christ - "For all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you" - or even to the status of son and heir." (CCC 1972).

What is your attitude to the Ten Commandments? An ancient dictum says that correct thought is the key to correct action. Jesus reveals the fullness of grace and purpose of the Commandments. We cannot enjoy the fullness of life that Jesus promises in John 10: 10 without embracing God's gracious and mysterious will as laid down in the Ten Commandments.

The Law of God is the will of God and His will is a holy life for everyone. (Cf 1 Thessalonians 4: 3).
Those who say that holiness is not for everybody are saying in fact that peace, joy and happiness are not for everyone. They contradict the Scriptures. The saints are full of joy, peace and happiness. They are the best advertisement for Jesus.

"If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you." (Sirach 15: 15).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, February 14, 2020

They all ate and were satisfied.


“Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” (Mark 8: 4).

Saturday 15th February 2020 in the 5th Week in Ordinary Time.

An African proverb says: "What man will allow the foam of the soap to cover his eyes and prevent him from seeing when he is standing in the river?" The source of all bread is standing in their midst, yet the apostles ask: “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?”

We hear the same groaning from our churches every day: Where can we get enough money for this and that charity or project? Is this your problem too? Then hear the word of God:

#1 "Man does not live on bread alone. There is life for him in every word that comes from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4: 4).

#2 "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6: 33).

#3 "The just man shall live by faith." (Romans 1: 17, Galatians 3: 11, Hebrews 10: 38 & Habakkuk 2: 4).

If these promises of God are not true, then our religion is worse than useless. In vain do we seek God, pray and worship God, go to Church on Sunday and perform all religious rituals.
But WHAT IF God's word is true, are you enjoying fully your patrimony as a son or daughter of the Most High?

"They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets. There were about four thousand people." (Mark 8: 8 - 9).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Feast of St Cyril and St Methodius.


"I have placed You as a light for the Gentiles, So that You may bring [the message of eternal] salvation to the end of the earth." (Acts 13: 47).

Friday 14th February 2020 in the 5th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the great missionary brothers, Saints Cyril and Methodius (+869) & (+885),Priest and Bishop respectively. Which mother will not be proud to have this pair as sons?  They are probably among the greatest missionaries in the the history of the Church. They are patron saints of Europe.

One of the spiritual insights I learned during my Cursillo weekend is that where you are this moment and place is not an accident. God has placed you Here and Now for a Purpose. Our Scripture for today from the first Reading for the feast of our great saints instructs us:
"I have placed You as a light for the Gentiles, So that You may bring [the message of eternal] salvation to the end of the earth." (Acts 13: 47).

Start blooming where you are planted. Make friends with our missionary pioneers: Paul, Cyril and Methodius and ask them to help you. When we honor the saints by asking them to obtain favors for us from Jesus, we glorify the Lord. Part of the reward of Heaven is the positive influence we can have on our loved ones on earth and those who ask for our intercession. How many patron saints do you call upon to ask for favors. Do not deprive yourself this vital resource.

St Cyril and St Methodius pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Solomon's heart was not entirely with the Lord.


"When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to follow other gods, and his heart was not entirely with the Lord, his God, as the heart of David his father had been." (1 Kings 11: 4).

Thursday 13th February 2020 in the 5th Week in Ordinary Time.

We see in the first Reading today the unraveling of a great nation and the reasons and consequences of it. We studied the life of David from his days as a shepherd boy to his last Testament to Solomon on his death bed. Did Solomon learn anything from his father David's last counsel to him?

"For  everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope" (Romans 15: 4).

Solomon in his desire to build the greatest kingdom in the world "did not follow the Lord unreservedly as David his father had done." (Cf 1 Kings 11: 6). The consequences were disastrous for his family and his kingdom.

Where are you tempted today to compromise with the world in spite of this clear warning:
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12: 2).

Solomon succumbed to the temptation to compromise with the world. He lost the friendship of God and subsequently his kingdom was torn in two. Are you tempted to enjoy the casinos on Saturday night and holy Mass on Sunday morning? The Sacred Scriptures are God’s love letter to His family.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

What price are you willing to pay for wisdom?


"Happy are your servants, happy these ministers of yours, who stand before you always and listen to your wisdom." (1 Kings 10: 8).

Wednesday 12th February 2020 in the 5th Week in Ordinary Time.

What is genuine riches? God owns everything in the world. He created everything and found everything He created good. Otherwise He would not have created it, He said. Yet God desires to bestow on His children genuine riches, the best in His storehouse. The Queen of Sheba traveled across deserts and rivers to visit King Solomon not to beg for gold or silver or form military alliance. She brought far more gold and spices than Solomon had ever seen. The Queen came to visit King Solomon to learn Wisdom.

"Happy are your servants, happy these ministers of yours, who stand before you always and listen to your wisdom." (1 Kings 10: 8).
Consider the price the Queen was prepared to pay for this. This reminds us of the Parable of Jesus:
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it." (Matthew 13: 45 - 46).

What price are you prepared to pay to receive the Holy Spirit? God does not need your silver and gold or spices. You do not need to traverse deserts and oceans to receive the Holy Spirit. All you need is desire and ask and you will receive.

The Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of Abundant life, the Spirit of Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge and Power.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, February 10, 2020

Lourdes of Our Lady - Home of Miracles.


"Listen to the petitions of your servant and of your people Israel which they offer in this place. Listen from your heavenly dwelling and grant pardon.” (1 Kings 8: 30).

Tuesday 11th February 2020 in the 5th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Who is Our Lady of Lourdes? She is of course one and the same Lady we honor under the titles of Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of Good Counsel, etc. One Lady, many titles. "From now on all generations will call me blessed." (Luke 1: 48).

In 1858, the Mother of the Redeemer appeared in Lourdes, France to a 14 year old girl who later became St. Bernadette. She subsequently appeared 17 other times in the same location. Today, a beautiful Basilica stands on the site to immortalize the event.

The first Reading today celebrates the dedication of the wonderful Temple of Solomon. Listen to the prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the Temple: "Listen to the petitions of your servant and of your people Israel which they offer in this place. Listen from your heavenly dwelling and grant pardon.” (1 Kings 8: 30). From 1858 to the present day, millions of pilgrims from all over the world continue to visit Lourdes where thousands of all types of miracles have been certified by a multinational team of experts.
It is not an accident that as we are reminded of the great House of God built by Solomon, we are celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Ark of the Covenant.

The Mother is always with the Son, always and everywhere.
Our Lady of Lourdes pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Where is your marketplace where you meet the hurting?


"Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed." (Mark 6: 56).

Monday 10th February 2020 in the 5th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Scholastica (480 - 547), Virgin. St Scholastica is the Twin sister of St Benedict who is reputed to found Western Monasticism. St Scholastica was inspired by her twin brother's vision and rules. She founded the Order of Benedictine Nuns. The Order is still serving the Church in some countries in the world including the United States.

"Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him [to heal them.]
Jesus healed the sick by allowing them to touch the tassels of his cloak.

Where is your market place? It could be a supermarket, post office, school, gas station, stadium, etc. There are people who are hurting in  these places. Unfortunately, they may not come to touch the hem of your gown or pants. You have to fish them out. Fishing out the hurting starts with your morning prayer before you leave home. "O Jesus, lead me, guide me and use me to touch the hurting You place in my path today. Amen." If you pray with expectant faith, your prayer will be answered by a grateful God who is looking for people like you.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, February 08, 2020

What type of light am I?


"You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house." (Matthew 5: 14 - 15).

Sunday February 9, 2020 in the 5th Week in Ordinary Time. You may call this Sunday the Light Sunday. There are 12 mentions of Light in the liturgical texts. A strong message.

Christ Jesus says to me this Sunday: Emmanuel, you are the light of the world. Jesus leaves me to figure out what this means for me as a lay person in the Church. I find that the synonyms of light are:
Illumination, brightness, brilliance, glow, dazzle, sunlight, etc.

Consider light as a means. What is the end? The glory of God. Just as the Cross is a means and the end is the glory of Jesus Christ.

How can I shine for Jesus in "my world?" How can I glorify Jesus? What words of Jesus are continually tugging at my heart?

#1 "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6: 33).
The world is in the dark about this great design and promise. I will shine this light everywhere because I know it is true.

#2 "You are the light of the world." (Matthew 5: 14).
God's word  teaches that the "Will of God" is the key to our peace, success and prosperity. This is my light. I share and shine this light by urging my friends and everyone to: "Pray to accept God's gracious and mysterious will always, everywhere in everything."

Below is what the Church teaches on how lay people can fulfill their mission as the salt and the light of the world:

"They exercise the apostolate in fact by their activity directed to the evangelization and sanctification of men and to the penetrating and perfecting of the temporal order through the spirit of the Gospel. In this way, their temporal activity openly bears witness to Christ and promotes the salvation of men. Since the laity, in accordance with their state of life, live in the midst of the world and its concerns, they are called by God to exercise their apostolate in the world like leaven, with the ardor of the spirit of Christ." (Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem).

Frequent Holy Communion and Sacrament of Reconciliation are indispensable tools.
" The sacraments, especially the most Holy Eucharist, communicate and nourish that charity which is the soul of the entire apostolate." (... Apostolate of the Laity).

How do you respond to the summons of our Lord Jesus Christ to New Evangelization?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, February 07, 2020

Solomon chose wisdom.


"Whatever you ask I shall give you."
(1 Kings 3: 5).

Saturday 8th February in the 4th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Jerome Emiliani (1481 - 1537), Priest and St Josephine Bakhita (1869 - 1947). "Josephine Margaret Bakhita, F.D.C.C., was a Sudanese-Italian Canossian religious sister active in Italy for 45 years, after having been a slave in Sudan. In 2000 she was declared a saint by the Catholic Church." (Wikipedia).

God said to Solomon in a dream: "Whatever you ask I shall give you."
(1 Kings 3: 5). Solomon chose wisdom and God is very pleased.
"Because you asked for this—you did not ask for a long life for yourself, nor for riches, nor for the life of your enemies—but you asked for discernment to know what is right—  I now do as you request." (1 Kings 3: 11 - 12). God granted Solomon a very wise mind and heart and topped the gift with riches and glory.
Jesus teaches us to go for the highest gift:
"The Father in heaven [will] give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11: 13). The Holy Spirit is the mother of all gifts. He is the Abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10: 10.

Like Solomon, let us take God at His word seriously and ask Him with confident and expectant faith that we may receive all that He plans to give us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, February 06, 2020

The Eulogy of David.

"With his every deed he offered thanks to God Most High, in words of praise. With his whole heart he loved his Maker and daily had his praises sung." (Sirach 47: 8 - 9).

Friday 7th February in the 4th Week in Ordinary Time is also the First Friday in February.

The first Reading is from the Book of Sirach, written about 100 years before the birth of Jesus by a Jew of Alexandria. The Book of Sirach has been part of the the Canon of Holy Scriptures from the earliest time. The study in the profile of David reaches its crescendo today.
Just as the Blessed Virgin Mary is blessed among all the women, the author of Sirach wants to show why  David is first among all  kings.

According to the author of Sirach, 
David is compared to a choice fat selected with care for sacrifice. His victory over Goliath with a slingstone was recognized by the people as a miracle and a sign that God is with him. 

After God confirmed His choice of David with a royal crown, God supported his military campaigns by granting him victory after victory. 

David's greatness lies in the attributes below:

"With his every deed he offered thanks to God Most High, in words of praise. With his whole heart he loved his Maker and daily had his praises sung." (Sirach 47: 8 - 9). 

The author of Sirach goes on to say:
"He added beauty to the feasts
and solemnized the seasons of each year With string music before the Altar, providing sweet melody for the psalms so that when the Holy Name was praised, before daybreak the sanctuary would resound." (Verse 10).

At the the very center of religion is worship and sacrifice is the very essence of worship. David knew this secret of God. The high road to the heart of God is worship, praise and thanksgiving. 

No wonder God is pleased to wipe out all the sins of David. 

"The Lord forgave him his sins and exalted his strength forever;
He conferred on him the rights of royalty and established his throne in Israel." (Sirach 47: 11).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this First Friday in February.


February 7, 2020  -  First Friday in February.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 2nd  month of the year 2020, we look at Promise #2.

#2.  "I will give peace in their families."

What is Peace? Peace is the calmness, tranquility, deep security you feel in the depth of your heart, soul and mind because you know that in spite of the apparent turbulence, All is well. You come to appreciate this peace most when civil war is raging in your family, health, finances, job, your possessions and tools. All things  fall apart and the center can no longer hold. Enters the Peace of Christ.

This is the peace that Jesus promises us today.

Jesus is our peace. He is the Prince of Peace.  Would you accept today His generous offer of peace in your family?

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

Seekfirstcommunity.com

The Feast of St Paul Miki and Companions.


Looks like "When the time of David’s death drew near, he gave these instructions to Solomon his son:  “I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong and be a man!  Keep the mandate of the Lord, your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, commands, ordinances, and decrees as they are written in the law of Moses, that you may succeed in whatever you do, and wherever you turn." (1 Kings 2: 1 - 3).

Thursday 6th of February in the 4th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Paul Miki of the Society of Jesus (+ 1597), Priest and 25 Companion Martyrs. St Paul Miki, a Japanese Jesuit and his 25 companions faced death courageously in Nagasaki, Japan in 1597 and thus were the first Christian martyrs in East Asia. The bloody persecution of the Church in Japan wiped out the Church in Japan and seemed to have obliterated the missionary efforts of St Francis Xavier and others. The mystery of Divine Providence is inscrutable!

Our hero David, the warrior and champion is ready to go back to God.  David calls his son and successor Solomon and gave him the Last Testament. He tells him all he needs to know to succeed as king of Israel. This sounds similar to what God says to Joshua after Moses died:
"Only be strong and steadfast, being careful to observe the entire law which Moses my servant enjoined on you. Do not swerve from it either to the right or to the left, that you may succeed wherever you go." (Joshua 1: 7).

Solomon and Joshua are to adhere scrupulously to God's commandments. This is the principle of success for earthly rulers and for all of us. The Bible teaches that it is God who promotes and demotes. He reveals all the questions to us. Have God's principles of success changed?
No! History continues to validate these laws for success every day.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, February 04, 2020

The people at first liked the Rabbi Jesus.


"When the sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished." (Mark 6: 2).

Wednesday 5th February 2020 in the 4th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Agatha (+250), Virgin and Martyr. St Agatha was martyred under the Emperor Decius. Agatha has been venerated from ancient times. She is the patron saint of breast cancer and other breast diseases. Jesus Christ is glorified when we honor the saints.

Teaching is the core ministry of Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. So Jesus is both the Teacher and the Subject. The people listening to Jesus on this Sabbath day in His town soon noticed the simplicity, authority and power of His teaching. They moved quickly from amazement to query His credentials.

Jesus taught His disciples not to worry about credentials and long resumes. The Holy Spirit will teach you all you need to know and will remind you everything you have learned from Me.
We witnessed Jesus' words validated when Peter and John appeared before the Sanhedrin for criminal prosecution for teaching without license. (Acts 4: 1 - 22). St Stephen the first Martyr before the Sanhedrin at his trial (Acts 7)and when he debated the Jewish apologists.

Do not fear those who demean or contradict your faith. Put all your trust in the Holy Spirit in you. He is your Paraclete, Advocate and the Voice that is promised to speak in court for you.

Jesus, I trust in You. I surrender myself completely to You. Take care of everything.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, February 03, 2020

My son Absalom, ho ho ho ho!


"The king was shaken, and went up to the room over the city gate and wept. He said as he wept, “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 19: 1).

Tuesday 4th February 2020 in the 4th Week in Ordinary Time.

David was crowned in Hebron at the age 30 and reigned in Jerusalem for 33 years. For the past couple of weeks, we have been studying the profile of King David. David is a most worthy subject of study because God calls David "a man after my heart", champion and promises a dynasty to David from where Jesus Christ the everlasting King will come from. Not surprisingly, David emerges to be the most lofty personage in the Bible after Jesus the Christ. What are the qualities that catapulted David to numero #1?
Enter COMPASSION. Compassion is Mercy, the attribute that makes us divine. God is Mercy and Mercy is God.

David mourns tenderly for Absalom whom the court of public opinion says deserves to die. From the Cross, Jesus Christ prays: "Father forgive them for they know not what they have done." He goes on to forgive the repentant thief: "This day, you shall be with me in paradise."

Jesus Christ, Son of David is the Face of the Mercy of God. God made the threshold of mercy so low that it is ridiculous not to reach up and grasp it. It is the ABC of Mercy:
A: ASK FOR MERCY.
B: BE MERCIFUL.
C: COMPLETELY TRUST JESUS FOR MERCY.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Throat diseases and St Blaise.


"As David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, he wept without ceasing. His head was covered, and he was walking barefoot. All those who were with him also had their heads covered and were weeping as they went." (2 Samuel 15: 30).

Monday 3rd February 2020 in the 4th Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Blaise (+316), Bishop and Martyr. St Blaise is famous for the cures through his intercession of diseases of the throat. Hence the blessings of the throat in all Churches in the world during Mass today. I have taken advantage of this grace for many years.

Today is also the feast of St Ansgar (801- 865) Bishop. Born in France, Ansgar ministered in Denmark and Sweden where many miraculous cures were attributed to him.

Our key Scripture for Monday shows David in dire crisis. A coup d'etat is in progress in Jerusalem led by Absalom, David's son. David was compelled to leave Jerusalem in a hurry. An incident happened on his way to exile which demonstrates David's profound faith in God and His Divine Providence. David was verbally assaulted by Shimei from the same clan of King Saul. He hauled stones on David as he followed David and the army guarding David. The army asked permission from David to kill Shimei.
"Suppose the Lord has told him to curse David; who then will dare to say, ‘Why are you doing this?" (2 Samuel 16: 5). Again we see David resisting the suggestion by his military to shade blood even when he might have been justified in public opinion. David understands that court of public opinion is different from the judgment of God.

What lessons can we learn from today's Scripture:

#1 Even kings and presidents are not spared crisis. St Teresa of Avila advises us to be always prepared for trials. Trial and crisis are part of God's sovereign governance of the world.

#2 "So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.  Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you." (1 Peter 5: 6 - 7).

David teaches us how to be faithful and trusting in God under an extreme crisis. May this lesson be a light for our path today.

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Saturday, February 01, 2020

The Mystery of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.


“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 29 - 32).

Sunday 2nd February in the 4th Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It is hard to believe that forty days have sped by since Christmas.

The Presentation of the Lord is a Joyful Mystery because Jesus is presented to us as Christe Lux Mundi.  Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. The light that enters our mind and heart and drives out darkness.

This light is first given us at our Baptism when a lighted candle is given to the parents of the child. This is a symbol of the true light that has been kindled in the new child of God. The parents promise to fan this light through Christian formation.

What does the light of Christ mean?  As Christians, we receive the light of Christ through the word of God. Jesus Christ is the Word of God. When the Gospel is proclaimed in Church at Mass, it is Jesus Christ Himself speaking to us.  Lighted candles on both sides of the lectern indicate the presence of Jesus who is speaking to the Church through the deacon or priest.

The word that we receive from the proclamation of the Gospel and the breaking open of the proclaimed word (homily) should light up our mind with the truth we need to guide us. We carry this light to our homes, work, everywhere.

Lord help us to shine our light without fear.

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Friday, January 31, 2020

You have despised Me David.


“I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12: 13).

Saturday 1st February 2020 in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time.

The confession of our hero, the man after God's heart whom the Father calls a champion is pithy and full of sorrow. First, let us consider what is sin from God's point of view:

#1 "You have despised me." (2 Samuel 12: 9). Sin is showing contempt to God, despising the Lord. A pretty strong language. If you report that someone has despised you, one may wonder whether a  shameless racist or sexist language was used.

#2 "You have utterly spurned the Lord by this deed [sin"] (2 Samuel 12: 14).
The dictionary defines SPURN as "Reject with disdain or contempt."
Did David decide in his heart to disdain God? Of course not. He wanted some fun. But God sees sin as disloyalty, unfaithfulness and outrage. God sees sin too as ingratitude. Consider all that He does for us as His adopted children. (Psalm 103: 1-5). Do not listen to the false teachers on television who tells us that sin doesn't matter. God loves you just as you are. Look rather to the Cross for 15 seconds and you will understand sin.

But in sin and repentance, David shows himself a true hero, a champion and the man after God's heart.

"A clean heart create for me, O God,
and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me... ." (Responsorial Psalm 51).

The repentance of David is immortalized in Psalm 51. The Church prays the entire Psalm every Friday. Kings and queens, Popes and Bishops, soldiers and common man have used this penitential Psalm given to us by David down the centuries.

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

The Champion commits a mortal sin.


"From the roof David saw a woman bathing; she was very beautiful." (2 Samuel 11: 2).

Friday 31 January 2020 in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St John Bosco (1815 - 1888), Priest. John Bosco is called the "Apostle of Youth." He was a great educator and father to the young. He founded the Salesian School to educate boys and girls.

David our hero and man after God's heart commits a grievous sin. "From the roof he saw a woman bathing; she was very beautiful."
David saw a woman. What does woman mean here? Woman here is a type for money, luxurious car, flashy clothes, food, great paying job, etc. In short, anything that entices the eye.

"For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world." (1 John 2: 16 NLT).

The Sacred Text above implies that we shall never be totally free of concupiscence although we become children of God by our immersion in the waters of Baptism. Hence the necessity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22: 31 - 32).
Just as the sin of King David contributed in making him a humble and great King, so the terrible betrayal of the Lord by Peter helped to make him a great Apostle and Pope.
Where there is abundance of sin, be sure there is abundance of mercy. Never forget the ABC of Mercy:
A - ASK FOR MERCY.
B - BE MERCIFUL.
C - COMPLETELY TRUST JESUS FOR MERCY.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

To the one who has, more will be given.


"To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” (Mark 4: 25).

Thursday 30 January in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time.

In Baptism, the baptized become the adopted children of God with gifts of the Holy Spirit. If you develop your gifts of time, talent and treasure, you receive more and grow. If you bury your gift, even the one talent you may have will be taken away from you. Every gift you possess has an expiration date on it. Use your gift and receive more or hide your gift and lose it.

It also matters a great deal how you use your gifts. In companies, only workers who are observed to consistently work extra hours without pay or observation are flagged for promotion. Listen to Jesus:
"The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you." (Mark 4: 24).

Is the word of God the light that guides your investment of your time, talent and treasure? When you make the Kingdom of God and His righteousness your top priority, then ask what you may, you will receive it.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

He who finds the word of God has found an everlasting treasure.


"But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.” (Mark 4: 20).

Wednesday 29 January 2020 in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time.

Last Sunday is the Word of God Sunday. Today, we have a delicious menu of the word of God. "But those sown on rich soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit thirty and sixty and a hundredfold.”
Allow yourself to be excited by the promise. To produce a sixty and a hundred fold harvest is in your hands. Nobody can make it otherwise. What can I do, you may ask.

Answer: Remain the good soil you were made in your Baptism. What if I have soiled my Baptismal garment? Ask for mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Lord promises to make you new again with sanctifying grace. God our Creator and Father knows our weaknesses and has provided adequately tools to help us remain a Good Soil. If you choose life today and choose to use the time tested tools God has given us, you will bear much fruit season out of season. Here are the 7 Daily Habits of Saints:
#1 Prayer
#2 Word of God
#3 Eucharist
#4 Penance/Reconciliation
#5 Examination of Conscience
#6 Ministry/Faith Sharing
#7 Spiritual Reading

Ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace and the perseverance to live and remain the Good Soil. Your reward will be huge and unbelievable.

"The seed is the word of God, Christ the sower; whoever finds this seed will remain for ever." (Gospel Acclamation).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, January 27, 2020

The military champion becomes a priest.


"David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the City of David amid festivities. As soon as the bearers of the ark of the Lord had advanced six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. Then David, girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the Lord with abandon." (2 Samuel 6: 12 - 14).

Tuesday 28 January 2020 in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of a great Doctor of the Church, St Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274), Dominican Priest and one of the greatest theologian in the history of the Church. But the Church sees his title to fame as Thomas' holiness and faith. His master work is the Summa Theologica. The Eucharistic hymns he wrote is still in use by the Church.

We continue the profile of our hero whom God calls a Champion. David is not only a king and prophet but also a priest. He becomes a type and shadow of what all Christians are anointed to be: Prince, Prophet and Prince. It is David the priest that we see today in the 1st Reading from 2 Samuel. "David, girt with a linen apron, came dancing before the Lord with abandon."
Dressed as a priest, David is not ashamed to dance before the Lord in presence of all the people.

Here is the witness of Scriptures below about people who have learned the great lesson of praise and worship:

"Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness." (Psalm 89:15–16).

Praise, worship, sacrifice and thanksgiving, unadulterated religion are some of the qualities we have seen that have endeared David to the Heart of God. No wonder David is so blessed and has such an unmatchable legacy among all historic figures.

"He who ponders the law of the Lord day and night will yield his fruit in due season." (Psalm 1: 2 - 3).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, January 26, 2020

If God is for us, who can be against us?


"David grew greater and greater, and the Lord, the God of Hosts, was with him." (2 Samuel 5: 10).

Monday 27 January 2020 in the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Angela Merici (1474 - 1540), Virgin. Born in Italy, she founded the Ursuline Order, "the first women teaching order approved by the Church... St Angela believed that the formation of Christian women is society's greatest need." (Roman Missal).

The story of the life of David in the Bible could never adequately be likened to the stories of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. It is much more. Our saint of today St Angela Merici was a trail blazer. The religious order she founded in 1535 is still serving women and the Church. Jerusalem that David founded about 3000 years ago is still standing. Why is David such a powerful personality in the Bible?

"I have found David my servant
and with my holy oil anointed him.
My hand shall always be with him
and my arm shall make him strong." (Psalm 89: 21 - 22).

David had a special anointing of God for his office. In spite of his adultery and murder of Uriah, husband of Bathsheeba, David never compromised the purity of the religion of Israel.

"My faithfulness and mercy will be with him; through my name his horn will be exalted." (Psalm 89: 25).

David understood profoundly his utter dependence on God. If God is for us, who can be against us. If God is with you, it is accomplished.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, January 25, 2020

The laity are the tip of the spear in the New Evangelization.


"He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people." (Matthew 4: 23).

Sunday 26 January 2020, 3rd Week in Ordinary Time is the Word of God Sunday. How does this affect the lay faithful? Here is how according to the teaching of the Church:

"Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, "that is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life." For lay people, "this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of the world."

"This witness of life, however, is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful." (CCC 905).

The 2nd Reading from 1 Corinthians 1 spells out how and with what attitude this evangelization will be carried out:

"For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with the wisdom of human eloquence, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its meaning." (1 Corinthians 1: 17).
Lay evangelists are not clergy. Our responsibility is to be the tip of the spear for the army of Christ and carry the Word of God to the nooks and corners that are normally inaccessible to the clergy.

The essential elements of this evangelization are 4:
1. Jesus Christ died.
2. Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
3. Both truth and facts are recorded in the Sacred Scriptures.
4. The Name of Jesus is the most powerful name in the world. Amazing things happen when this Name is invoked in faith.

The above facts and truths are within the grasp of everyone. All are called to be evangelists.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, January 24, 2020

Lord what shall I do?


"What shall I do, sir?" (Acts 22: 10).

Saturday 25 January 2020 is the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. The Church has recognized it as a major feast since the 6th century. In the 12th century, it was made a universal feast. Below is how the Church reflects on this feast.

"As St. Paul affirms, "Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more." But to do its work grace must uncover sin so as to convert our hearts and bestow on us "righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Like a physician who probes the wound before treating it, God, by his Word and by his Spirit, casts a living light on sin:

Conversion requires convincing of sin; it includes the interior judgment of conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of truth in man's inmost being, becomes at the same time the start of a new grant of grace and love... " (CCC 1848).

Paul asked the Lord Jesus who appeared to Him on the road to Damascus: "What shall I do, sir?" Jesus answered: "Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about everything appointed for you to do." (Acts 10: 10).
Do you know all the Lord has appointed you to do for Him?

"I chose you from the world to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last,
says the Lord." (John 15: 16).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Gentleman Saint - Francis de Sales.



"I will not raise a hand against my master, for he is the Lord’s anointed." (1 Samuel 24: 10).

Friday 24 January 2020 in the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Francis de Sales (1567 - 1622), Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Born in France, he was the Bishop of Geneva where he combatted Calvinism. He founded with St Jane Frances de Chantal the Order of the Visitation Nuns. St Francis de Sales is an accomplished author and the patron saint of authors and journalists.

Our Scripture to live by today gives us another insight into the character of David, the man after the heart of God: "I will not raise a hand against my master, for he is the Lord’s anointed." King Saul had been hunting for David like a quarry. By an act of Providence, David found Saul asleep and alone in a cave. David was urged to kill Saul by his personal security guards. Nobody would know. David said: "I will not raise a hand against my master, for he is the Lord’s anointed."

We celebrate today the feast of a giant of the Faith, St Francis de Sales, patron saint of journalists and writers. We know that our Bishop is also the Lord's anointed. Do you know that it could be a very grave sin to criticize your Bishop publicly. See Canon Law: 212, 227 & 1373. The Bishop is not a president, governor, senator or mayor. He is a successor to the Apostles, the Lord's anointed and guardian to the doctrine and morals of the Faithful. Unguarded criticism could undermine the faith of many. For the same reason, be careful how you criticize your pastor publicly.

Be like David the man after God's heart and respect the "Lord's anointed."

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Who is your security?


"In God I trust; I shall not fear." (Psalm 56: 5).

Thursday 23 January 2020 in the 2nd Week of Ordinary Time.

Our Scripture today is from the Responsorial Psalm 56: "In God I trust; I shall not fear." What do you do when your foundations are shaken and are collapsing before your eyes. Consider for a moment the following areas the foundations of your life:
Family, health, money, job, tools and possessions, food and future.

Who is your security? If your security is not God, you will not be unable to fall sleep. I have been there. I know the Before and After experience. When I made the Lord Jesus Christ my Security, after a couple of years, I came to understand what true peace is. Peace that passes all understanding. It passes all understanding because all your foundations may have collapsed but it doesn't matter because you know your Security is in firm control of the situation. Your calm and peace is how you know that God is on your side.

The measure of true peace and security is not a feeling of "peace" when everything is rosy in all your boundaries: Family, health, money, job, tools and possessions, food and future. Jesus promises that in the world, we shall have trouble. But Jesus also promises that because He has overcome the world, we can experience a new type of peace. A peace that exists in the depth of our soul irrespective of external circumstances. This type of peace is one of the sweetest experiences in life. When you experience it, your faith and love for Jesus will grow deeply.

The Lord is my security, I shall not fear.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The fight is not yours but the Lord's.


“The same Lord who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17: 37).

Wednesday 22 January 2020 in the 2nd Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Vincent the Deacon (+304). Vincent was born in Spain and earned his martyr's crown in Valencia under the persecution of Emperor Diocletian. Vincent showed great courage and endurance under torture.

January 22 is observed as a day of prayer and penance for all prolife causes.

The Church continues teaching us today the profile of David in the 1st Reading. One great attribute of this man is that he never forgets anything God does for him. He knows that sooner or later, he will meet the same challenge again. This is one characteristics of very successful people. They remember favors.

"All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves. For the battle belongs to the Lord, who shall deliver you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17: 47).

God favored David at such an early age with wisdom. There are people today in their 70's and 80's who believe that life's battles are won by big tanks and armies and billions of dollars. Not David. The Bible teaches that wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord. It is His gift to those who honor Him and respect His laws.

"Thus David triumphed over the Philistine with sling and stone; he struck the Philistine dead, and did it without a sword in his hand." (1 Samuel 17: 50)

How did David overcome Goliath?
With sling and stone. The victory of Christians will come through faith in the name of Jesus. Not through $$ dollars and hard work. The Holy Spirit gives us this Scripture to inspire us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, January 20, 2020

I have found David my servant.


"I have found David, my servant." (Psalm 89: 21).

Tuesday 21 January of the 2nd Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Agnes (+304) virgin and martyr. Agnes was martyred at the age of 13. She is the patron saint of purity.

"I have found David, my servant." (Psalm 89: 21). The figure of David dominates the three liturgical Readings today. What is common between Agnes and David. They both show how God does not choose as man chooses. God chooses what is weak to confound the world.

Who is David?
* The youngest shepherd son of Jesse of Bethlehem.
* He slew Goliath with a sling shot.
* He founded Jerusalem as the capital of unified Israel.
* Committed adultery with Bathsheba.
* To cover up adultery, had Uriah killed.
* Psalmist and liturgist.
* Priest, Prince and Prophet
* Calls God his Father.
* God calls David champion.
* God calls David "a man after my heart."

Is it surprising that David is the most illustrious in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, Son of David? The choice, the call and the anointing of David increases our trust and confidence in Divine Providence.

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Disobedience is rebellion and idolatry.


"Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams." (1 Samuel 15: 22).

Monday 20 January 2020, 2nd Week of Ordinary Time is the feast of St Fabian (+250), Pope and Martyr. St Fabian is famous in history for dividing Rome into seven diaconates for the effective distribution of aids to the poor. He was martyred under Emperor Decius.
Also honored today is St Sebastian (+286), martyr. Sebastian was an officer under Emperor Diocletian. He was martyred when he converted to Christianity.

Our lead Scripture today is: "Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams." It is the word that the Church and Christians need to hear today and every day. Why? Because disobedience is rebellion. It is idolatry to prefer your will to the will of God. Here is the attitude and character of our Savior Jesus Christ:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight in. Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll, Behold, I come to do your will, O God." (Hebrews 10: 6 - 7).

Anything short of obedience is displeasing to Abba Father. The "will of God" seems to have disappeared from the language of the Church. In former times, it is the bench mark for all decisions and discernment. If we want God to guide and bless our decisions and projects, the will of God must return to our thinking and decisions. If not, we must be prepared to be treated like King Saul in our first Reading today:
"Because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”

“Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth, Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?” (Psalm 50: 16 - 17.

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Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Choice, the Call and the Anointing of a Messenger.


"John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1: 29).

Sunday 19 January 2020, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Church presents a unified strong voice in all the Scripture readings: 1st, 2nd, Responsorial Psalm and Gospel. What is the common theme? The Choice, the Call and the Anointing. The principal characters in today's Scripture: Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jesus and Paul were all chosen, called and anointed to ministry by the Father.

Last Sunday, we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord and had the opportunity to renew our Baptismal Promises. We heard that we too are chosen, called and anointed to bear witness to the Death, Resurrection and Name of Jesus. These Scriptures from today's Liturgy point to our mission.

"The Lord said to me: You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory..... I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth." (Isaiah 49: 3, 5 - 6).

Jesus is the Light of the world. Isaiah, John the Baptist and Paul and Christians carry the Light of the Gospel to our world.

"Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God..." (1 Corinthians 1: 1 - 3).

We Christians are called along with Paul to be holy and missionary.

"I have waited, waited for the Lord,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry. And he put a new song into my mouth, a hymn to our God." (Responsorial Psalm 40: 8-9).

Wait for the Lord to commission you. Be patient. In the fullness of time, He will do it. The Holy Spirit will give you all the needed gifts for your ministry.

Daily Bible Verse
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Friday, January 17, 2020

Jesus is not ashamed to call us family.

“Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Mark 2: 16).


Saturday 18 January 2020, of the 1st Week in Ordinary Time.

The Pharisees were scandalized to see Jesus in table fellowship with a large group of sinners, tax collectors and prostitutes. The Pharisees not known to hold back their judgment on moral failure were quick to pass judgment and condemn Jesus. There are a number of teaching points in this situation, but let us  consider one which could lift us up.

Jesus has shown and said that He is not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. He knows who we are and the stuff of which we are made. Remember the Genealogy of Jesus Christ Son of David? That's the whole point. He came to redeem and save His kith and kin.

If Jesus is not ashamed to call you His brother and sister. Do not be ashamed to call Him your Lord.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Feast of St Anthony of the Desert.


"If you would be perfect, go, sell what you have, give to the poor, and follow me, says the Lord." (Matthew 19: 21).

Friday 17 January 2020, of 1st Week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Anthony, Abbot (251 - 356). Also called St Anthony the Great and St Anthony of the Desert. It is said that Anthony heard our key Scripture in Church and literally sold all he had, distributed it to the poor and marched off to the desert where he lived the rest of his life. He was 18 years old when he made this radical decision. 

In the desert, Anthony attracted like minded monks and they formed a community. St Anthony struggled a great deal against the powers of darkness and God aided
Anthony to overcome.  Anthony showed a great talent for spiritual direction and people traveled great distances to be counseled by him.

It is said that the best advertisement for Jesus are the saints. The saints prove that the teachings of Jesus are true and they work. Jesus is glorified when we honor the saints. This is why the Communion of the Saints and the communion with us saints in the Church is so powerful.

"If you would be perfect, go, sell what you have, give to the poor, and follow me, says the Lord." (Matthew 19: 21).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Of course, I want to heal you.


"A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.” The leprosy left him immediately, and he was made clean." (Mark 1: 40 - 42).

Thursday 16 January 2020 of Week 1 in Ordinary Time.

The cleansing of this audacious leper by Jesus teaches us some important lessons on faith:

#1 The leper was bold and confident with expectant faith.
#2 He worshipped Jesus by kneeling down.
#3 He sought for Jesus and found Him.
#4 His faith knocked at the Heart of Jesus and the Heart was unlocked for the leper.
#5 Then the leper asked Jesus for healing and received his cleansing.
"I will heal you," Jesus said.

I have found from my own experience that whenever I approached Jesus with bold faith, expecting a YES, I have received what I asked for.
Pray with bold confidence and expect to receive an answer because you know you are asking what God has already promised to give.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Speak your servant is listening.


“Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3: 10).

Wednesday 15 January 2020, in the 1st week in Ordinary Time.

Samuel, the son of Hannah and the great Prophet of Israel has his first encounter with the God of Israel. Here is the epitaph of Samuel to indicate his legacy:
"Samuel grew up, and the Lord was with him, not permitting any word of his to go unfulfilled. Thus all Israel from Dan to Beer-sheba came to know that Samuel was a trustworthy prophet of the Lord." (1 Samuel 3: 19 - 20).
This is pretty strong endorsement from the Boss of Samuel. What personal qualities got Samuel to be so highly rated in the annals of Israel? The answer is in the Responsorial Psalm 40 which is known as a Messianic Psalm.

"Blessed the man who makes the Lord his trust; who turns not to idolatry or to those who stray after falsehood."...
“In the written scroll it is prescribed for me. To do your will, O my God, is my delight, and your law is within my heart!”...
I announced your justice in the vast assembly; I did not restrain my lips, as you, O Lord, know." (Psalm 40: 8,9).

This Messianic Psalm applies to the character of Samuel. He is uncompromisingly loyal to God. He despises idolatry and falsehood. He courageously tells truth to power.
"Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will."

"The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice, says the Lord, I know them and they follow me." (John 10: 27).
O that we will hear your voice today and follow you!

Daily Bible Verse
@ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, January 13, 2020

Urgent prayer for a son.


“O Lord of hosts, if you look with pity on the misery of your ­handmaid, if you remember me and do not forget me, if you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the Lord for as long as he lives; neither wine nor liquor shall he drink, and no razor shall ever touch his head.” (1 Samuel 1: 11).

Tuesday, 14 January 2020, in Ordinary Time.

We have for reflection today the great prayer of Hannah, mother of the Prophet Samuel. This is a powerful prayer by a woman of faith who appears to understand the mind of God. The Church uses frequently the hymn of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2: 1 - 8 in her Liturgy. What we learn from the prayer of Hannah:

#1 Humility: "Look with pity on the misery of your handmaid."
#2 Target petition: "Give your handmaid a male child."
#3 Quid pro quo: "If you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the Lord for as long as he lives."
#4 Pledges to train the boy in the ways of the Lord: "Neither wine nor liquor shall he drink, and no razor shall ever touch his head.”

Not even a human being, sinful and selfish as we are will fail to notice such a prayer. The old priest Eli rocking in his armchair overhead the prayer and added his priestly blessing: “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” (1 Samuel 1: 7).

"It is the Lord who gives poverty and riches. He brings men low and raises them on high." (1 Samuel 2: 8).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The time of fulfillment has arrived.


“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1: 14).

Monday 13 January 2020, the 1st week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Hilary of Poitiers (315 - 368), Bishop and Doctor of the Church. France is called the eldest daughter of the Church. Look at the dates of St Hilary and you will see why. Before 315 AD, the Church hierarchy already existed in France. St Hilary powerfully defended the divinity of Christ against the Arian heresy. He helped the Church understand the deeper significance of the of the Incarnation.

The arrest and execution of St John the Baptist was a signal for Jesus to launch His ministry. His very first pronouncement is significant: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

"This is the time of fulfillment."
What fulfillment? Of all the prophecies and promises made to the chosen people since Genesis 3: 15. Every prophecy, every promise is now fulfilled in Jesus and His Mission. How do we get on board?
Repentance. The early Church likes the word Metanoia, a strong Greek word for repentance implying an irreversible 360 degree change.

Metanoia may not succeed unless it is anchored on a living Faith that is nourished every day through prayer, word of God, Eucharist, Reconciliation, ministry and spiritual reading. He who puts his hand to the plough must not look back.

"Open our heart, O Lord, to accept the words of your Son. (Acts 16: 14).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, January 11, 2020

The Baptism of the Lord.


"After the Lord was baptized, the heavens were opened, and the Spirit descended upon him like a dove, and the voice of the Father thundered: This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Cf Matthew 3: 16 - 17).

Sunday 12 January 2020, the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord. This feast concludes the Season of Christmas.

Why is the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ a very important mystery of faith?

#1 The Holy Spirit anoints Jesus for His mission.
#2 The Father testifies that Jesus is His beloved Son.
#3 The Most Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit is revealed.

Why is the feast of the Baptism of Jesus important for us Christians?

#1 In our Baptism, we are anointed with the Holy Spirit for our mission. 

#2 Our Baptism is the beginning of our Christian life. 

#3 Our Baptism makes us the adopted children of God. 

#4 Our Baptism makes us brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ. 

#5 We become new creation as soon as we are baptized. 

Brothers and sisters, on this day, we have the opportunity to renew our Baptismal Promises. We sweep away the old yeast so that we can truly be who we are in Jesus: a new creation.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com